A few things to bring to your attention...
Fr Ross writes…
It feels like a long time ago that I was away on my holidays and I seem to be as busy as ever with my parish and schools ministry along with all the other tasks that are expected of me as parish priest.
I am very pleased to say that we have restarted the teaching of our two year First holy Communion Programme. This has been quite a logistical exercise with the current government restrictions in place. Angela, Lana, Kat, Emily and myself have been working overtime behind the scenes to organise and teach the remainder of this course in a Covid safe environment. I wish to thank the entire team of Catechists for going above and beyond the call of duty during these unusual times. A huge thank you also to Irene Chapman for helping us with the Covid risk assessments and implementation of a safe environment for the classes to take place in.
This group of children will be receiving their first Holy Communion during Friday, Saturday and Sunday Masses from the 27th November onwards. This will mean that there will be reduced seating capacity at these Masses. Please be patient with us if you cannot get a place at one of these weekend masses, instead offer up a prayer for our youngsters who are to receive their first holy communion with limited family numbers to celebrate the receiving of this sacrament with them.
We aim to restart the one-year program after Christmas and have been in communication with the parents of these children already.
ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS 2020
Sadly Advent and Christmas are clearly going to be very different this year and I need to alert you to this fact early. I have not yet decided what we will be offering in terms of Masses and Services this Christmas and am having a meeting with our working party to discuss all of this during the week ahead.
Clearly we will not be able to fit everybody into our two Churches who may wish to attend Mass at Christmas. I would have to offer fourteen or more Christmas Masses to fit our usual Christmas congregations into our two churches with the current restrictions on numbers. So we will have to be creative in what we do.
What we will need however is a huge number of volunteers to be stewards and to help with decorating our churches, cleaning our churches; help with flower arranging etc etc. Johnathan Terry has cancelled his usual Memorial Services so we won’t have the huge Christmas Trees like we normally have, though he has offered us some artificial trees. So we will need decorations and lights etc.
St Patrick’s is particularly short of volunteers, for all of the above tasks. If we are to have Christmas Masses and Services at St Patrick’s we will need more volunteers, it is as simple as that. St Patrick’s cannot be open for Christmas services and Masses unless we get more younger volunteers stepping up to the plate to help with all that needs to be done. Please do let the Parish Office know if you can volunteer your time and talents for any of the above.
ROOFING ISSUES AT ST PATRICK’S AND ANNUNCIATION
During this past week I invited Stephen Hardman from the Diocesan Estates Team to look over the roofing issues for both our Churches following the publication of the roof survey which done on both our churches. We do have urgent issues looming for both our parish churches roofs. St Patrick’s cannot afford a major roof project with no money in the bank and with a building already in urgent need of other major external repairs aswell as a good internal redecoration.
St Patrick’s is now in debt to the tune of £130,000 and rising each month due to less hall hire and a drop in collections due to the pandemic. We will in the New Year have to do some serious soul searching with the Diocese as to what the future use of St Patrick’s Church and Hall should look like and we will begin a parish consultation process. The way ahead is not going to be an easy one I am afraid.
PROBATION SERVICE AND SKIP HIRE
I recently asked the Community Payback Scheme if they would be able to help us maintain our grounds in and around St Patrick’s Church and Hall. They have done an amazing job so far and have agreed to continue working with us. They have now cleared most of the site of rubbish and under growth. We did have to order in four mega skips to clear the rubbish away which is not cheap. Thank you to those who have already donated to help towards this cost, should you wish to make a donation please do in the usual way.